Find It! at the Library of Congress

How Find It! Works

Convenient Linking

The Library of Congress' Find It! service supports convenient linking between a reference citation and full text or other "web services." For example, if you have a citation for a journal article — which may include the article's author and title, the journal and volume/issue where the article was published, or an article identifier — determining whether electronic full text is available at the Library of Congress can be a complicated process.

Find It! makes this process easier. Using information from your citation, Find It! builds appropriate links to the full-text — or helps you identify other ways to find the content you need. Your citation information is packaged in a structured, standardized form known as an OpenURL.

Just Click the Find It! Button

In most electronic databases accessible at the Library of Congress, you will see the Find It! button Find It! button in your search results or full citations. Clicking this button sends an OpenURL with your citation information to the Library's Find It! service, which then matches your citation against the Find It! knowledgebase. This knowledgebase is aware of many (but not all) electronic journals and ebooks accessible through the Library. Find It! first tries to link you to full text. If this is not possible, you will be offered other choices: a link to the LC Online Catalog to help you find a print copy of the full text, a link to the LC E-Resources Catalog to locate electronic books and journals not available through Find It!, along with links to journal table of contents and to web search engines.

Find It! links are dynamic and "context sensitive" — you may see different options in your Find It! menu based on your citation. Find It! can only work, however, if the source of your citation is able to generate an OpenURL containing the citation information for your article or ebook.

Diagram of the OpenURL Resolver process

More Detailed Information About Find It! and OpenURL

At the heart of Find It! is an OpenURL Resolver which processes OpenURLs against the Find It! knowledgebase and provides users with links to full text and other web services. The Find It! knowledgebase contains bibliographic and holdings information for electronic journals and ebooks that the Library can access — as well as rules for processing OpenURLs and creating standard queries for targets. Successful linking is improved when citations contain standard identifiers, such as an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), ISBN, or DOI (Digital Object Identifier). The Find It! knowledgebase is updated weekly and is regularly modified by the Library of Congress.

Databases, catalogs, and other software that can generate OpenURLs are called Sources. Any resource that can be queried by the resolver is called a Target. In practice, many targets contain the full text of ebook and journal articles. But targets can also include library catalogs, web search engines, online bookstores, interlibrary loan services, and online bibliography software products.

Developed in the early 1990s as a tool for reference linking, OpenURL is a NISO Standard Z39.88-2004 (external link) with OCLC serving as the OpenURL maintenance agency (external link).

Diagram of the Library of Congress' Find It! OpenURL Resolver system
Find It! Frequently Asked Questions